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WT Activities Association plans tournaments and dance

The Mission Winter Texan Activities Association is gearing up for another series of fun tournaments for Winter Texans, and you’re invited to get your park to participate in the games. The activities being held this year include a pool tournament, golf tournament, bowling, and the annual Cabaret Dance held at Mission Bell Resort.

This year’s fun begins with the pool tournament, which kicks off Jan. 5 with the Ladies 9 Ball Singles hosted at El Dorado Acres. The series of nine pool tournaments continues through Jan. 29 and is hosted by several different retirement resorts in the Mission area, including W&I Resort, El Dorado Acres, Bentsen Grove, Hidden Valley Ranch and Aladdin Villas.

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Lindley Creek returns with the bluegrass sound

20171221 Lindley Creek 2098Katie Greer probably doesn't remember the first time she picked up an instrument, just like she doesn't remember the first time she took a step or said her first word. Those distinctions, however, aren't far apart in dates.

Greer, 20, is the lead singer for Lindley Creek, an acoustic family band from Missouri showcasing, according to their website, “beautiful, traditional bluegrass and gospel music, soulful, soaring lead vocals, soothing family harmonies, intricate instrumental breaks and original songwriting, Lindley Creek presents compelling acoustic music and a sincere family sound.”

The band has returned to the Rio Grande Valley with a bustling schedule. They started visiting South Texas in 2010.

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LaDawn excited about second season in the Valley

LaDawn1LaDawn was 14 when she had her first public performance. She wasn't planning on performing, but she said she wasn't given a choice.

“I sang a duet in church,” said the singer, who has returned to the Valley for her second season. “I had been playing the piano and this new fellow came to church. He was about 19 or 20. Mom had him over for dinner and afterward I was playing the piano and he was singing – he had a really nice voice.”

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WT Activities Association plans tournaments and dance

The Mission Winter Texan Activities Association is gearing up for another series of fun tournaments for Winter Texans, and you’re invited to get your park to participate in the games. The activities being held this year include a pool tournament, golf tournament, bowling, and the annual Cabaret Dance held at Mission Bell Resort.

This year’s fun begins with the pool tournament, which kicks off Jan. 5 with the Ladies 9 Ball Singles hosted at El Dorado Acres. The series of nine pool tournaments continues through Jan. 29 and is hosted by several different retirement resorts in the Mission area, including W&I Resort, El Dorado Acres, Bentsen Grove, Hidden Valley Ranch and Aladdin Villas.

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Del Puschert played with King of Rock & Roll

20171208 Palm Shadows Jam Del Puschert GU IMG 0931

Del Puschert played a rousing version of “Yakkety Sax” during a recent jam session at Palm Shadows RV Park in Donna.

Del Puschert, who has been playing saxophone since he was 3, fondly remembers the night he was working in a nightclub in Texarkana back in 1954 when a young man wearing a red mackinaw pushed through the doors of the club and asked for an opportunity to sing with his band. He told Del he had just cut his first record and was on his way to Shreveport, Louisiana, where he was to appear on “Louisiana Hayride.”

Since 1953 Del had his own band that played society type music at the Texarkana supper club. Because of the extremely cold weather that night, business was slow, so Del said it was okay with him if his manager approved. The manager agreed so the young man sang the song he had just cut as his first record. The song was “Blue Moon over Kentucky” and of course, the young man was Elvis Presley.

After the performance the band, Elvis and a group of employees from the club went out for biscuits and gravy at a local all-night diner. When Elvis’ car would not start, a local TV newscaster offered to put him up for the night since he had no money.

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Musicians perform favorite hits at Palm Shadows jam

20171208 Palm Shadows Jam Dean Schilling GU IMG 0925

Dean Schilling (trumpet)

The Friday night jams held weekly at Palm Shadows RV park in Donna at 7 p.m. offer a mixture of big band, easy listening music, and rock and roll. The night we attended, the band had trumpets, clarinets, guitars, saxophones, an accordion, keyboards and even a tuba.

Among those participating in the jam were Don Prichard on guitar, Gerry Rutherford and Dean Schilling on trumpet, Frank Pelcher on accordion, Dennis Schewerbert on tuba and guitar, Ted Begeman on guitar. Roger Steiger and Del Puschert played sax. Eloise Rutherford and Claudette Schafer played keyboard while Deanna Nelson and Ann Butler were vocalists.

Old songs like “It Must Have Been Moon Glow,” “Let It Be Me,” “I Gave My Heart to You,” and “Deep Purple” kept the audience in a nostalgic mood.

20171208 Palm Shadows Jam Dennis Schewerbert GU IMG 1009

Dennis Schewerbert on tuba

Dean Schilling played a moving old favorite, “Unchained Melody.” And Del Puschert changed the mood entirely with a rousing edition of “Yakkety Sax” that brought him applause from the audience.

Gerry Rutherford started the second session with another spirited old favorite, “Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man Who Stilled the Waters.” Ann Butler sang “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” Don Pritchard roused the audience with “Shake, Rattle and Roll” while Frank Pelcher played “Marie” on accordion.

Dennis Schewerbert played a lively tuba rendition of “Ain’t She Sweet?” Dean Schilling played “Can I Have This dance?” on trumpet.

Eloise Rutherford played a lively “Piano Roll Blues” on keyboard. Deanne Nelson performed “As Time Goes By” while Ted Begeman played “Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby.”

20171208 Palm Shadows Jam Frank Pelcher GU IMG 0965

Frank Pelcher on accordion

But the undisputed favorite of the second half came in the form of a request that Roger Steiger play “Danny Boy” on his soprano saxophone. The melodic sounds made by the soprano sax blended with the old Irish song and warmed the heart, brought applause from the audience who loved it.

The jam ended with a request for “Jingle Bell Rock” that had the ladies in the Santa hats dancing in their rows to the lively music.

The music was relaxing with just enough rock and roll to liven things up a bit. Check out one of their jams. Palm Shadows is located at 200 N. Val Verde Road in Donna.

Swinging the nights (and some days) away

20171122 Swing Street 4514Band leader Bob Comeau plays the alto sax during practice for the Swing Street Big Band. The band performs it's first show of the season from 3 to 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3 at the Texas Theater Ballroom, located at 115 E Newcombe Ave. in Pharr.

The Swing Street Band is on the road again, all throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

Started by Winter Texans, the band has evolved throughout the years and is currently made up mostly of active and retired music educators from around the Valley, plus a few Winter Texans. Consisting of five saxes, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, drums, guitar and female vocalist, several of the musicians are actually directors of award-winning high school bands from the area and bring a wealth of the talent and experience to complete the full big band sound.

20171122 Swing Street 4528Dennis Lester performs on the drums during practice for the Swing Street Big Band.

The band plays music ranging from the early big band days of Glenn Miller's “In The Mood,” to the music that will bring you back to the days of your high school dances and sock hops.

Swing Street Band Schedule
Sun., Dec. 17, 3 - 4:30 p.m., Aladdin Villas, Mission (Christmas Show)
Sun., Dec. 31, NYE 8:30 to 12:30 p.m., Leisure Valley, Mission (Dance)
Sun., Jan. 7, 7-10 p.m., Victoria Palms, Donna (Dance)
Sat., Jan. 13, 8-11 p.m., Cottonwood Country Club, Harlingen (Dance)
Sun., Jan. 21, 3-5:30 p.m., Texas Theater Ballroom, Pharr (Dance)
Fri., Jan. 26, 7-10 p.m., Alamo Rose, Alamo (Dance)
Sat., Feb. 3, 7-10 p.m., Aladdin Villas, Mission (Dance)
20171122 Swing Street 4539Connie Crowell plays the sleigh bells during practice with the Swing Street Big Band. Crowell also sings with the 18-piece band that kicks of its season Sunday, Dec. 3 at the Texas Theater Ballroom.

Fri., Feb. 23, 7-10 p.m., Bentsen Grove, Mission (Dance)
Sun., Feb. 25, 3-5:30 p.m., Texas Theater Ballroom, Pharr (Dance)
Sat., March 3, 7-10 p.m., Aladdin Villas, Mission (Dance)
Tue., March 6, 7-10 p.m., Fun “N Sun, San Benito (Dance)
Sun., March 11, 3-5:30 p.m., Texas Theater Ballroom, Pharr (Dance)

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